Tributes to the life of Yitzchak Shamir, former Prime Minister of Israel, poured in on Saturday night as word spread of his death. Shamir passed away on Shabbat after a long illness at the age of 96.
In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Shamir was “a member of the generation of giants that established the State of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people in its land. As Prime Minister, Yitzchak Shamir acted to ensure the security of the State of Israel and its future, and was a sterling example of faithfulness to the future of the Jewish people.” Netanyahu said in the statement that he “expressed deep sadness over the death of Yitzchak Shamir.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that “Yitzchak Shamir acted his entire life as a solid rock for the people of Israel, without compromise. In the underground, in the Mossad, and in the government of Israel as Prime Minister, Shamir acted to ensure the security of the people on Israel in its land, and ensuring its future. The struggle to remove the British from the Land of Israel and his deep knowledge and recognition of the history of the Jewish people were basic elements of his identity and directed his actions. Yitzchak Shamir, throughout his life, asked what was best for the security of the state, what as good for the people of Israel, and he acted according to this.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “Yitzchak Shamir was one of the great leaders of the State of Israel. He was a man who had a great part in the establishment of the State and served it his entire life, out of a sense of faith and dedication.”
Kadima head Shaul Mofaz said that “Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir was a leader who guided Israel with faith and wisdom. The patience that Shamir showed during the Gulf War proved to be the right choice, which strengthened Israel, along with his decision to attend the Madrid Conference, despite his views.” He will also be remembered, Mofaz said, as the man who set off the wave of aliyah of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
The Yesha Council, too, issued a statement, saying that Shamir was “a fighter for the freedom of Israel throughout his life, in the underground, the defense forces, and as leader of the government. Shamir strengthened the hold of the state of Israel on parts of its homeland. He was able to stand solidly against many pressures, and he will be remembered as a prime example of Jewish leadership.”
Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika said that “residents of Samaria, together with the rest of the nation, are in mourning over the death of a builder of Israel. As Prime Minister he was responsible for much building in Judea and Samaria. He will be remembered as a man of vision and a leader of building in Samaria and the Land of Israel, a most loyal leader of the land and the people. We will learn from his deeds and continue in his path,” Mesika added.